self-care

The Human Charging Station

sarasota.photographer.delmonte.blogger

It seems we’ve reached an almost-robotic era where events, airports and even our homes are equipped with “charging stations” to conveniently offer guests a complimentary recharge.

Have we really gotten there? To the point that a few hours of disconnect from the outside world seems unfathomable? Am I alone in battling the struggle for connecting to others through technology while still trying to resist its overuse?

The teeter-totter balancing act between the two is exhausting. Physically, I can immediately tell when it’s been too much. Days and weeks when I’ve been tech-heavy, writing articles, editing photos, posting to Instagram/ Pinterest/ Twitter, etc. I feel a clear line of stress from the muscles under my knuckles, through my forearms and up to the area where the nape of my neck meets my skull. Any gentle touch to any spot along that line would trigger a semi-painful response. Mentally, when I notice myself avoiding social interaction (read: “Netflix Movie Marathon”), I know it’s time to check myself into my very own “human charging station.”

I’m referring to my personal paradise where I don’t feel pressure to perform on any level nor do I judge myself for indulging in personal time. I have several charging stations that do the trick.

1. Yoga – whether you believe in lines of energy or not, there’s something to be said about the power that comes from grounding yourself through strengthening postures and feeling the earth under the palms of your hands. Not to mention the calming effect that spreads over me after doing yoga. In Spanish, we have a saying that literally says, “In the absence of bread, cracker,” and it basically states if you can’t have what you originally wanted (bread/ to live in a spa), then do what’s available (cracker/ yoga). Such a weird saying, but kinda cute, right? Ps. Puerto Ricans love carbs. If it’s not bread, then it better be a cracker, dammit!

2. Quality Time – Sometimes I just yearn for a nice cuddle sesh with friends or family. Throw a massage in there and I’m in heaven. Another QT favorite is going to sporting events. As boring as baseball may be to some, I love going to games! Brunch and dinner rendezvous are nice too ☺ I feel like I’m writing a dating profile. Enough about QT.

3. Nature – the scenery, the smells, the air and the general feeling of being in the right place. I try to find pockets of bliss (parks, beaches, trails, etc.) to get me away from technology and into a broader landscape.

Where are your personal charging stations? How often do you get yourself there?

Here’s my challenge to you:

Find your charging station.

Get to it before the end of next week and report back.

Happy Monday!

With love,

Sara

 

Time For Self-Care

sarasota.people.photographer.delmonte

WHAT IS SELF-CARE?

I'll be honest with you: I don't have the answers. I only have experiences, reflections and lessons. Isn't that the way life works though? If we take a moment to step out of our own lives and allow ourselves to see the bigger picture, doesn't it all boil down to experiences and lessons?  

The main question I ask myself is, “How can I love myself well?” Self-care has become a coined term relating to practices that range from quietude to luxurious treatments, and although they’re all fair definitions for it, I want to include perhaps a new way for you to approach it.

It involves stepping outside our minds and entering our hearts. One of the most recent revelations I've had is that I want to be able to be as aware of my feelings and needs during times of joy as I am during times of stress. Self-care facilitates this transparency. It's the link between our hearts and our perspectives on life. That's where I think the gift of the precious present lies. The pot of gold. The edge of the rainbow.  

The ultimate lessons in self-care that I can pass on to you are this:

SELF-CARE IS FUN

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. - Dr. Seuss

A life of leisure in my everyday life is what I strive for. These are some of my favorite spontaneous practices: middle-of-the-day DIY face scrubs and masks, extra essential oil drops on my skin to feel like a goddess, long walks through the plant store while listening to my favorite music, gym time, reading all kinds of books that enlighten and inspire me, signing up for that class I've been wanting to take, etc. Thinking of "normal" activities as luxurious ones or even switching the time of day I enjoy them adds an element of fun and playfulness to my self-care routines. In addition, taking a leisurely approach to my day immediately adds the illusion of time to my life, which makes me more prone to notice, acknowledge and perhaps even smile to the person next to me. This is one of the truest benefits from practicing self-care: when we care for our internal selves we're better able to externalize feelings of peace, compassion and love to the world around us.

SELF-CARE IS QUIET

Silence is the quickest avenue to our soul. In quietude, we face ourselves, our feelings, our lacks, our desires, our questions and our dreams. I find that each day is different when it comes to sitting quietly. Sometimes I'm in the zone for twenty minutes straight and other times it's a huge struggle to stay still for two minutes. It's always telling of what's underneath the surface of course. I've experienced enough of the bliss that happens when I push through the chatter and arrive to my inner peaceful place to know that it's worth pushing through. Bliss, my loves. BLISS. If you're willing, I encourage you to check out these apps. I use them either at home in the mornings, in bed at night, or sometimes while I’m nursing and Levi drifts to sleep. Make this experience your own and don't overthink it. In yoga, it's said that a still body will facilitate a still mind, but just remember that the goal isn't to quiet the mind completely, it's to slow it down enough for you to see what's there, without judgement. These are my favorite meditation apps:

  • Calm

  • Headspace

  • Mindfulness

  • Stop, Breathe & Think

They each have free + premium options. I usually just choose a free one and it does the trick! 

I hope you enjoy this approach to self-care. I'd love to hear about your journey as you incorporate some of these or maybe even come up with ones that your heart is yearning for! I find that taking a step back from our busy lives, listening to our hearts and honoring what it needs always brings a sacred perspective to our days and lives. 

Sending you all love,

Sara